Visionary I Ching Cards : The Book of Changes for Intuitive Decision-Making.
Author: Paul O'Brien
Art: Joan Larimore
Publisher: Beyond Words
card size: approx: 9.5cm x 14cm
These cards are beautiful. They are quite large, and very shiny so that the colours of Joan Larimore's illustrations have a wonderful glow. The shininess means the cards are slightly 'sticky' when brand new, but I should think that they'll become easier to use over time. They are not partcularly easy to shuffle becuase of their size, but there's always the old 'lay them all out face down and move them around' method if all else fails. They come in a sturdy box together with a comprehensive 224 page booklet.
The cards are like other Tarot & Oracle cards in that they offer guidance and insight. They are different in that they are a card-based version of the ancient Chinese Oracle, which traditionally involves tossing I Ching coins or repeatedly dividing and counting yarrow stalks to create a hexagram (6 broken or unbroken lines), and most likely a second hexagram depending on the nature of each of the lines in the first. Here, you choose one card to give you your first hexagram, another card to give you your second, and see which of the lines in the hexagrams differ from each other to find your 'lines', which offer additional guidance.
I referred to the I Ching using yarrow stalks and the (at that time) go to Book of Changes frequently some years ago, and have a great respect for it. Using these cards and guidebook is certainly a different way of doing it, but I like it. Paul O'Brien has modernised the language of the Book of Changes, making it more easily accessible, while retaining its core meaning. I was slightly dubious when I ordered a single deck to test run it, but can safely say that I have no doubts in recommending it.